Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about thinking bigger and having huge ambitious goals at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.
Full Video Transcript:
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about your goals and how to come down onto your goals from above.
Two thousand seven – 2007 was a very difficult year for me. I had gone on my own independently as a marketing consultant less than a year earlier than that, and at that time I was really struggling to try and find revenue, find new clients for my business. And I remember one night in particular, it was in September of that year, it was actually a Thursday evening—and I remember it because I actually had a beer on my desk, I was drinking a beer and I was frustrated and exhausted—and I was just trying to brainstorm, “What can I do to kickstart my career?” And I thought, “You know, what I should do is speak at a conference.” And I had never done that before at that point.
And so I went to Google. I was really focused on Internet marketing, online marketing strategies at the time. So I went to the Internet, went to Google, and I searched for “Internet marketing conference.” Well, it turns out there actually is a conference called the Internet Marketing Conference, so it came up first. And this was a conference that was based in Stockholm, Sweden, and I thought, “Oh boy, here we go.” But it was all in English, and it had a tab on the left-hand side that said Speakers. I clicked on it. And then on that page, it had another link that said “Submit a proposal,” and I clicked on that too, and now I’m looking at this online form on my screen that I could fill out to submit a proposal.
I thought, “Gosh, what should I say?” I’d never done anything like this before. But I thought of a great title that night, and in the speaking business—that’s what I do for a living—in the speaking business, the title is super-important. And I thought of a great title that day. It was called “Monetizing Trust: Leading Your Audience from Rapport to Revenue.” It was a great title.
Anyway, so I clicked Submit with the details and so on, but I didn’t expect to hear back. I mean, I was a nobody at the time. I mean, I knew my stuff, but I hadn’t established myself with any kind of an online reputation. And again, that was a Thursday evening. So I didn’t hear anything on Friday, I didn’t hear anything on Saturday, nothing on Sunday. But I woke up on Monday morning and an email had come in at two o’clock in the morning, which was the middle of the day in Sweden, and it said, “We’re interested in your topic.” And I thought, “Holy smokes, what the heck am I going to do?” I mean, really I was excited, but I was scared to death too.
But the email started going back and forth with a guy over there. His name is Lennart Svanberg. Great guy. He’s a good friend of mine to this day. But at that time I didn’t know him, of course. So anyway, the emails went back and forth and there was some negotiation and this and that, but two-and-a-half months later—it was in November of that same year—I ended up going to Sweden and speaking at this conference. It was so crazy.
But the thing is, when I got there, I found out a couple of things. Number one, I found out that I was the only American speaker to submit a proposal. I was the only American speaker to submit a proposal. And secondly, I found out that one of the biggest reasons they chose me, aside from that one fact, was that because of my location—I live in the San Francisco Bay Area—to them, I was an American from Silicon Valley.
Now, seven million people live in the Bay Area. It’s not that special. We’re all Americans from Silicon Valley over here. But over there, that’s a little bit of a bigger deal. And that’s when I learned something very, very interesting. The hardest place to get paid to speak is in your own backyard, because you’re nothing special in your own backyard. You’re just a local guy, a local gal. When you go across the world, that’s a big deal. That’s a much bigger deal.
And by the way, when I got home, I got more credibility at home because I spoke in Sweden. So I got more credibility in both directions. I mean, I’d figured out. I was like, “That’s it! From now on, I’m sending all my marketing to far-off distant lands, international.” And I sent marketing all over the place. I literally went to the Internet, I put together lists of people, event planners, meeting planners, visitors bureaus, convention bureaus, anything I could find, and I would put packages together and send them all over to like Moscow and Kuala Lumpur and Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile and Cape Town, and just wherever you can imagine, I sent marketing material to those locations.
And in March 2011—so this is like three-and-a-half years after the Sweden situation—I sent out a group of 68 packages to people in the Persian Gulf region, in the Middle East. So think Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain – what they call the GCC countries. And again, I had sent stuff all over the world, I wasn’t expecting to hear back. A lot of this stuff just ends up in the trash. And sure enough, seven months went by, I didn’t hear anything.
But eight months after I sent that mailer, I got an email from a guy by the name of Ali Al Kamali, who runs a company called Datamatix out of Dubai. Great guy. Really does incredible events, this man. Very professional guy. Sends me an email saying, “We’re interested in having you speak at our conference.” He was having a conference in May 2012, and he’d contacted me in August or September. And I was like, “Wow.”
And there again, same thing, emails started going back and forth, started working out the details, and in May 2012, for the first time, I ended up going to Dubai to speak at his e-government and e-services conference. Big conference. Full of Arabs. White headdresses. The Saudis wear the red and white checkered. Completely different part of the world for me. Super-exciting.
And yet again when I went there, I found out from Ali Al Kamali—in fact, I have to tell you, they even had an awards ceremony on the Thursday. It was a whole week. This conference was a whole week, Monday to Friday. And on the Thursday evening they had an awards ceremony, which was held at the Burj Al Arab. Look this thing up on Google. Or in fact, you know what? I’ll put the picture right here behind me so you can see what it looks like.
And I spoke in this building. And the awards ceremony was right up at the top, right by the helipad. There’s a helipad at the top of this building, and right below that, that’s where that conference room was. I had to speak there as well. And the primary conference was at the Ritz Carlton. I mean, it was a nice, nice venue. And there I was speaking in front of all these people. Unbelievable.
And Ali told me when I was there that I was one of the few Americans who sent material to them. He doesn’t get that very often. It was unusual. So the fact is, when you send material far off, you’re much more special than when you do it at home. So I started thinking, “Gosh, this is all about thinking bigger.” And not like a little bit bigger, but way bigger.
Because when you think way bigger, like 10 times bigger than you’re thinking right now, a really fascinating domino effect starts to take place. It changes the way you think about your own business, sparkle in your eyes, spring in your step. It affects your performance. It affects the performance of the people around you, which is very fascinating. They’re inspired by your visionary approach. And you have far less competition than you might expect otherwise, which is exactly what I found myself.
So I started looking in my circle to see, is there anyone else who’s having the same thing happen? Came across all these examples. There was this guy Howard VanEs, who’s a yoga instructor. But he went way beyond just being a yoga instructor and he wrote books about yoga, which are available on Amazon. And he started holding luxury retreats, like Sedona yoga retreats to Sedona, and other exotic destinations. And guess what? He had almost no competition, because he was the only one doing something that big. No one else thought that big.
And then I came across Stephanie Chandler, who’s a blogger based in Sacramento and has this blog, Business Info Guide, and started a small publishing company called Authority Publishing. And she thought to herself like three years ago, “You know, I’m going to start a nonfiction writers conference.” It was a virtual conference. The whole thing was over conference calls. And she held it, and guess what? She had almost no competition. And it started small, but then it grew the second year, it grew the third year, so much so that now she introduced the Nonfiction Authors’ Association. Association! She has no competition because no one else thought that big.
It’s the story of Laurel Pine. Laurel Pine is one of my favorite people, and she has a business selling caviar and foie gras and truffle mushrooms on the Internet, all online. And she called me a while ago. She knows I love this stuff. It turns out there is this trend called culinary tourism. It’s like where rich people spend huge amounts of money to travel to exotic destinations and eat the best of everything. So she’s like, “I’m going to do a culinary tourism trip to Italy, 10-day trip, where they’re going to eat the best of everything.” It costs thousands of dollars to attend, and you have to get to Rome. It doesn’t even include the flight.
Guess what? Almost no competition. There are other people doing culinary tourism, but she’s already got an audience because she’s selling product to those people. It’s a perfect match. She’s doing this, and all her people would never think about going for another company because they already have a relationship with her. She has almost no competition.
It’s all about thinking bigger, way bigger. Think way bigger about your business. Not a little bit bigger, but way bigger. One of the most inspiring entrepreneurs, in my opinion, is Sir Richard Branson, who started the Virgin companies. Gosh, talk about thinking big. Virgin Galactic, can you imagine? This guy is a big thinker. But he’s also famous for saying—listen to this—“The fastest way to become a millionaire is to start out as a billionaire and then start an airline,” which obviously is a joke, but it’s a fascinating top-down kind of approach, starting at above your goal and coming down onto it from above, right?
See, I look at careers like skyscrapers. So your career, whatever field you’re in, is a skyscraper. So like some skyscrapers are taller than others. So politics goes all the way up to the president. Finance is a tall one. Maybe if you’re like a local massage therapist it’s not as tall of a skyscraper, but it’s still a skyscraper. So the question is always, how do you get to the top of your skyscraper? What’s the fastest way to the top?
Most people climb the stairs, and it works, guys. It takes a lot of time, takes a ton of effort, but you keep going up those stairs, you will eventually get to the top. So think about someone who starts out in the mailroom and becomes CEO in 35 years, right? Other people take the elevators. So think going to Harvard and becoming CEO in six or seven or eight years. It’s a faster way to the top.
But guys, the fastest way to get to the top floor of a skyscraper is to parachute down onto it from above. I believe you can do that today. I believe that today that is possible. Could you write a book about your subject? Could you start a conference, an online virtual…? Could you start an association where you’re the center of a thriving community? Or introduce some glamorous trip to an exotic destination on the other side of the world? What could you do?
If you chose to do that, you would find that your life would be more exciting. You’d have a spring in your step, a sparkle in your eye. You’d have far less competition than you think you might have. You’d have almost no competition, I guarantee it, if you think way bigger. And, you’ll inspire countless others along the way, and they will rally to your side. When you’re doing something exciting, they will rally to your side. They’ll want to volunteer. They’ll want to help. They want to be part of your excitement.
People live in a boredom trance. People in our society live in a boredom trance. They do the same routine every single day. They’re bored to tears. When you’ve got an exciting idea, when you’re living your life with passion, when you’re thinking bigger about your business, people will come out of the woodwork to help you succeed because they want to be part of that energy. So think bigger.
This is Patrick. Thank you very much, as always, for watching these videos. And like I say at the end of every one of these episodes, think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.